Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Top Ten Tips for Creating Classroom Websites

Recently I spent quite a bit of time researching classroom and media center web pages from various surrounding county schools in hopes of improving my own media center web page. I wanted to find out how I could make the most use of our online presence to promote the media center and all it has to offer. As an outsider who is unfamiliar with these particular schools, I was able to test the sites' user friendliness and see if the over all layout made sense to the average user. It didn't take long before I began to notice trends among the most outstanding websites. I used this experience to make my Top Ten Tips for Creating Classroom Websites:

  1. Consider your reason for having a classroom website. What information do you want to share and why? Write this down. It is your overall goal for the website and will help shape how you proceed from here.
  2. Consider who will be your target audience / users for the classroom website. Parents? Students? The community? All of the above? Keep this in mind as you create and maintain your website.
  3. Keep it simple! You don't need to be a web designer to make your site look good. I recommend using a website creator such as that is user friendly and guides you through the process. The great thing about Weebly is that it is free, easy to use and set up to help you succeed in creating a sharp looking website. 
  4. Consider how you want to break up the information on your website. Use tabs and pages within the website to organize your information in a way that will make sense to your audience / users. Take a look at other class webpages for ideas that work well.
  5. Images speak louder than words. Take pictures of your classroom, school events and students at work and add them to your website where appropriate. Weebly allows you to add slide shows, videos and photo galleries in a matter of minutes.
  6. Leave the 1990's clip art and flashing, animated backgrounds in the 1990's. You wouldn't want your viewer's to get a headache just looking at the website. 
  7. Cut the clutter. Ask coworkers, family and friends to take a look at your site before you publish it. Ask for honest feedback on what you should keep and what should be cut. Remember clean and simple is much more eye-appealing and user friendly than busy and cluttered. 
  8. Set aside a regular time to update and maintain your website with current information.
  9. Use it! This is your space to showcase what students are learning in the classroom. Also, think about the information that you are frequently having to copy for students or parents. Can that info be incorporated into your website for easy access?  
  10. Get your student's involved! Once you feel comfortable with the overall management of your website, involve your students in certain features of your website by having them write book reviews, class blog entries, news stories, or serve as class photographers for the week.

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